|Publication number||US7141883 B2|
|Application number||US 10/463,961|
|Publication date||Nov 28, 2006|
|Filing date||Jun 18, 2003|
|Priority date||Oct 15, 2002|
|Also published as||US7498656, US20040178472, US20040222478, US20040222506, WO2004036654A2, WO2004036654A3|
|Publication number||10463961, 463961, US 7141883 B2, US 7141883B2, US-B2-7141883, US7141883 B2, US7141883B2|
|Inventors||Derrick C. Wei, Ying Shi, Kevin G. Smith, Steven P. Proffitt, Axel Thomsen, David M. Pietruszynski, Ligang Zhang|
|Original Assignee||Silicon Laboratories Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (35), Non-Patent Citations (13), Referenced by (43), Classifications (17), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/418,546, filed Oct. 15, 2002, entitled “INTEGRATED CIRCUIT PACKAGE CONFIGURATION INCORPORATING SHIELDED INDUCTOR STRUCTURE”, naming Derrick C. Wei, Ying Shi, Kevin G. Smith, Steven P. Proffitt, Axel Thomsen and David M. Pietruszynski as inventors, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to integrated circuits incorporating shielded circuit structures, and more particularly to such integrated circuits incorporating inductor structures.
2. Description of the Related Art
Many modern integrated circuit devices require extremely stable oscillators to achieve desired specifications. Crystal oscillators may be employed, but typically require an off-chip crystal mounted elsewhere on a printed-wiring-board. LC oscillators offer the potential advantage of being able to incorporate such an oscillator on-chip.
To achieve an oscillator having extremely low-jitter generation, a high-Q LC oscillator is typically required. For example, a Q>30 may be required for certain applications. It is difficult to achieve such a high Q with conventional on-chip spiral inductors using the conductor and dielectric layer compositions and thicknesses which are typically encountered in traditional integrated circuit processes. For example, such on-chip spiral inductors typically achieve a Q no higher than 10–15, which is limited largely by substrate loss due to induced eddy currents in the semiconductor substrate. In addition, such spiral inductors are susceptible to electromagnetic interference from external sources of noise.
Additional improvements in high-Q LC oscillators are desired to achieve extremely stable oscillators, particularly for use as low-jitter clock sources.
An electromagnetically-shielded high Q inductor may be fabricated within a multi-layer package substrate such as a ceramic package. The inductor is preferably constructed as a loop structure on one of the layers of the multi-layer substrate (MLS). The shielding structure is formed around the inductor to substantially enclose the inductor in a Faraday cage-like enclosure. In certain embodiments the shielding structure includes a top plate formed above the inductor on another layer of the MLS, and a bottom plate formed on yet another layer of the MLS or on a layer of an integrated circuit die which is below and attached to the MLS. The shielding structure includes sidewalls formed in certain embodiments by at least one ring of stacked vias, each preferably placed as close as possible to its adjacent stacked vias, to form an effective attenuating barrier to external electromagnetic (EM) interference. In other embodiments the shielding structure includes sidewalls formed by via channels to form a solid wall of conductive metal around the inductor within the MLS.
In certain embodiments the bottom plate is formed in a layer of the integrated circuit die. The die is preferably attached to the MLS by solder bumps, and a ring of solder bumps provides a connection between a portion of the sidewall formed in layers of the MLS and a portion of the sidewall formed in layers of the integrated circuit die. The inductor is preferably also connected to stacked vias which provide a connection to the underlying integrated circuit die by way of additional solder bumps and cut-outs through the bottom plate of the shielding structure. The stacked vias and solder bumps provide an extremely closely-coupled connection between the inductor and remaining circuitry to which it is coupled (i.e., providing low series inductance and resistance).
To achieve good electromagnetic shielding, the conductors forming the shielding structure are preferably high conductance structures having a thickness much thicker than the skin depth of the conductor at the operating frequency of interest. Consequently, copper or copper-alloy metal layers are preferred for both the inductor structure and the shielding structure. The metal layers of the MLS are preferably much thicker than layers commonly encountered in traditional integrated circuit processes. In certain embodiments, the metal layers are preferably approximately 10 microns thick. To achieve a high Q inductor, it is also advantageous that the dielectric thickness between the inductor and the top and bottom plates of the shielding structure be much larger than that typically encountered in traditional integrated circuit processing. In certain embodiments, the dielectric thicknesses are preferably approximately at least 150 microns thick. With such thicknesses, an inductor having a Q of 30–40 may be achieved.
In certain embodiments the bottom plate of the shielding structure is formed by an additional layer of metal formed above a traditional passivation layer covering a traditionally-fabricated top-layer of metal. Such additional layers of metal, which may be termed re-distribution layers, are preferably formed on the integrated circuit using copper or copper-alloys. In certain embodiments, such re-distribution layers are approximately 3 microns thick and have dielectric thicknesses of approximately 10 microns, depending upon the operating frequency of interest. In certain embodiments, such re-distribution layers may be incorporated into the metallization process flow of the integrated circuit, particularly if copper-based metallization is used for the traditional metal layers. In other embodiments, such re-distribution layers may be post-processed after passivation openings are cut to expose pads in the otherwise top layer of traditional metal.
In an exemplary embodiment of the invention, an integrated circuit die includes a phase locked loop circuit configured to perform clock regeneration or clock and data recovery. The PLL includes an LC oscillator circuit having an LC tank circuit in which the “capacitor” element is a variable capacitance circuit which is tuned by operation of the PLL, and the “inductor” element of the LC tank circuit is formed in the MLS. Since such an inductor structure may be a relatively large structure and behave as a rather good “antenna” for external electromagnetic fields (such as those generated by neighboring integrated circuit devices or electrical signals traversing a printed wiring board), the “inductor” element of the LC tank circuit is formed preferably as two parallel-connected inductors arranged symmetrically in a mirror image, thus forming a magnetic dipole to help offset the effects of external interference. Moreover, the shielding structure formed around the two-loop inductor structure provides substantial attenuation of stray fields from ever reaching the inductor loops. In other embodiments, two series-connected inductors may be advantageously utilized.
In a low-bandwidth PLL circuit, electromagnetic interference which couples into the PLL oscillator circuit which differs in frequency from the oscillator frequency by less than the bandwidth of the PLL is rejected by the PLL much less than higher frequency interference. Such close-in interference manifests itself as a close-in spur or by injection locking in which the PLL attempts to lock on to the interference frequency. By incorporating a shielded inductor structure, such interference may be dramatically reduced and clock jitter generation dramatically improved.
In certain aspects, the invention includes a multi-layer package substrate having an inductor structure at least partially enclosed by an electromagnetic shielding structure. In other aspects, the invention includes an integrated circuit device attached to such a multi-layer substrate. In a broader context, other circuit elements may be incorporated within such a shielding structure, either in addition to one or more inductors or instead of one or more inductors.
The present invention may be better understood, and its numerous objects, features, and advantages made apparent to those skilled in the art by referencing the accompanying drawings.
The use of the same reference symbols in different drawings indicates similar or identical items.
Referring now to
In one embodiment of the invention, the integrated circuit die 102 may include a low-bandwidth phase locked loop (PLL) circuit as part of a clock regeneration device. The PLL includes an LC oscillator circuit. The capacitor structures of the LC tank circuit, as well as the gain stages of the oscillator circuitry are preferably fabricated within the integrated circuit die 102, but the inductor structure of the LC tank circuit is preferably fabricated as a shielded inductor structure within the multi-layer substrate 104, as depicted in
In certain embodiments the inductor structure is implemented as a two-loop structure, as shown in
Preferably the shielding structure forms a 6-sided electrically-conductive box, thus forming a veritable Faraday cage around the double-loop inductors. The box is preferably formed of solid copper plates except for vias on one of its sides (e.g., via 134) to allow the inductor leads (e.g., lead 126) to pass through for connection to the integrated circuit die 102. Achieving a solid plate for the top and bottom sides (e.g., 128, 132) of the shielding box is readily achievable in a multi-layer substrate. Forming a solid plate on each of the side walls (e.g., 130) may not be readily achievable with certain multi-layer technologies. In such a case, the side wall plates may be approximated by a plurality of vias, as shown in
There are many different stacking arrangements contemplated for various embodiments of this invention. One particularly advantageous stacking is now described in reference to
The metallization layers 202, 204, and 206 may be termed re-distribution layers RM1, RM2, and RM3 which are formed above the passivation layer as part of the integrated circuit device. These re-distribution layers are preferably formed of copper-based alloys having a thickness of approximately three microns to achieve higher conductivity than thinner aluminum-based alloys. The dielectric thickness (i.e., the vertical spacing) between re-distribution layers RM1, RM2, and RM3 is preferably approximately 10 microns. In a preferred embodiment, the bottom plate 128 of the shielding box (see
The multi-layer substrate 104 (i.e., the “package”) includes several metallization layers, frequently 6–8 such layers. Three of the package metal layers PM0, PM1, and PM2 are shown in
Connection of the integrated circuit die 102 to the multi-layer substrate 104 is accomplished preferably by solder bumps 103. Such solder bumps form the connection from the integrated circuit to the inductors 222, 224, and also form connections which help complete the sidewalls of the shielding box. Each solder bump, once melted to form the connection, forms a metal connection approximately 75 microns thick between a pad on the re-distribution metal layer RM3 and the package metal layer PM0. In the example shown, the side walls are implemented using a “ring” of vias. The solder bumps 103 forming the sidewalls are preferably spaced laterally as close together as possible to limit the aperture size between adjacent solder bumps.
Referring back to
The lateral spacing between the inductors 122, 124 and the sidewall 152 should be preferably equidistant to ensure symmetry of both loops. Likewise, the lateral spacing between the inductors 122, 124 and the other two sidewalls should respectively be equidistant. The shielding box 136 preferably should be connected to a ground node through only a single connection, to ensure that the shielding box 136 behaves as a zero-potential electrical shield. Alternatively, another equipotential node may be used to achieve substantially the same electrical shielding. Such single point grounding is preferably accomplished in the multi-layer substrate 104, as shown in
In the various embodiments of the invention, it is preferred that the bottom plate and the sidewalls be extended as close to the integrated circuit as possible, to ensure maximal enclosure of the protected structure. Referring now to
Because of various constraints in the design of both a multi-layer substrate and the integrated circuit itself, there may be compromises reached in the structure achieved for the shielding box, and consequently, how well the box actually shields the inductor within. The effectiveness of such a shielding structure around an inductor may be modeled, and scaled models constructed upon which actual measurements may be taken, as depicted in
by Loop 1
by Loop 2
No shield at all
Only bottom plate
Top and bottom plates; no sidewall
Top and bottom plates; only sidewall 2
Top and bottom plates; all sidewalls are
present, using vias
Top and bottom plates; all sidewalls are
present, using solid metal plates
The data represented in Table 1 are obtained by an Ansoft HFSS simulator, assuming that all package metal layers are 10 micron thick copper layers. The coupling is calculated by the mutual inductance between the interfering loop and the main inductor inside the shielding structure. All feature sizes are referred to an exemplary integrated circuit device and its corresponding package.
In one embodiment of the invention, the integrated circuit die 102 may include a low-bandwidth phase locked loop (PLL) circuit as part of a clock generation device 1500, as depicted in
At an operating frequency of 2.5 GHz, the skin depth is on the order of 1 micron. Preferably the re-distribution metal layers are copper or copper alloy layers approximately 3 microns thick and the inter-metallic dielectric layers therebetween are approximately 10 microns thick. The package metal layers are preferably copper or copper alloy layers about 10 microns thick and the inter-metallic dielectric layers therebetween approximately 100–150 microns thick.
When used as a precision clock circuit, an extremely low jitter signal is desired. By implementing the tank circuit inductor in the multi-layer substrate as described above, its distance to the semiconductor substrate may be increased to more than 200 microns and the substrate losses thereby substantially reduced compared to spiral inductors implemented on-chip in traditional integrated circuit metal layers. An inductor with a Q as high as 30 may be achieved.
Because a desirable inductor for this operating frequency is relatively large compared to other features on the integrated circuit (e.g., as much as 300–500 microns in diameter), such an inductor may be viewed as a “receiver” which is susceptible to external sources of EM interference unless shielded. In a situation where the external EM interference is closer to the operating frequency of the PLL than the bandwidth of the PLL, the operation of the PLL rejects such interfering frequencies less than other frequencies further from the PLL operating frequency. Injection locking may result as the PLL attempts to lock on to the interfering frequency. Shielding such an inductor from such close-in interference is vitally important to low-bandwidth, LC-oscillator based PLL circuits in order to achieve a low jitter operation when operating in a noise environment which includes such close-in interference frequencies.
While the invention has thus far been describe in the context of certain embodiments, the invention is by no means limited to such embodiments. For example, other circuit structures may be implemented within a shielding structure as described herein, rather than inductors, or in additional to inductors. For example, a shielded capacitor structure may be implemented within the multi-layer substrate 104 and closely-coupled to circuitry within the integrated circuit die 102. Moreover, the re-distribution layers may be formed after passivation openings are cut to expose the top layer of traditional metallization, or may be incorporated into a metallization process, particularly if copper-based metallization is already utilized for the other layers of the integrated circuit process.
In certain embodiments, the entire shielding structure, including the bottom layer, may be implemented within the multi-layer substrate 104, although this may increase the length of the inductor connections. Such additional length may increase the series inductance of the connection and expose the connection to additional interference from external fields (since part of the connection lead is outside the shielding box). Nevertheless, by incorporating the bottom plate within the multi-layer substrate 104, the process implications for the integrated circuit die 102 may be less demanding. If the multi-layer substrate process can provide such a structure, the side walls of the shielding structure may be formed using trench via structures to form a solid conductive plate on the sidewall.
In the interest of clarity, not all of the routine features of the implementations described herein are shown and described. It should, of course, be appreciated that in the development of any such actual implementation, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made in order to achieve the developer's specific goals, such as compliance with application- and business-related constraints, and that these specific goals will vary from one implementation to another and from one developer to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of engineering for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.
Based upon the teachings of this disclosure, it is expected that one of ordinary skill in the art will be readily able to practice the present invention. The descriptions of the various embodiments provided herein are believed to provide ample insight and details of the present invention to enable one of ordinary skill to practice the invention. Moreover, the various features and embodiments of the invention described above are specifically contemplated to be used alone as well as in various combinations.
Conventional circuit design and layout tools may be used to implement the invention. The specific embodiments described herein, and in particular the various thicknesses and compositions of various layers, are illustrative of exemplary embodiments, and should not be viewed as limiting the invention to such specific implementation choices. Accordingly, plural instances may be provided for components described herein as a single instance.
While circuits and physical structures are generally presumed, it is well recognized that in modern semiconductor design and fabrication, physical structures and circuits may be embodied in computer readable descriptive form suitable for use in subsequent design, test or fabrication stages as well as in resultant fabricated semiconductor integrated circuits. Accordingly, claims directed to traditional circuits or structures may, consistent with particular language thereof, read upon computer readable encodings and representations of same, whether embodied in media or combined with suitable reader facilities to allow fabrication, test, or design refinement of the corresponding circuits and/or structures. Structures and functionality presented as discrete components in the exemplary configurations may be implemented as a combined structure or component. The invention is contemplated to include circuits, systems of circuits, related methods, and computer-readable medium encodings of such circuits, systems, and methods, all as described herein, and as defined in the appended claims. As used herein, a computer readable medium includes at least disk, tape, or other magnetic, optical, semiconductor (e.g., flash memory cards, ROM), or electronic medium and a network, wireline, wireless or other communications medium.
The foregoing detailed description has described only a few of the many possible implementations of the present invention. For this reason, this detailed description is intended by way of illustration, and not by way of limitations. Variations and modifications of the embodiments disclosed herein may be made based on the description set forth herein, without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. It is only the following claims, including all equivalents, which are intended to define the scope of this invention. In particular, even though the preferred embodiments are described in the context of a PLL operating at exemplary frequencies, the teachings of the present invention are believed advantageous for use with other types of circuitry in which a circuit element, such as an inductor, may benefit from electromagnetic shielding. Moreover, the techniques described herein may also be applied to other types of circuit applications. Accordingly, other variations, modifications, additions, and improvements may fall within the scope of the invention as defined in the claims that follow.
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|U.S. Classification||257/778, 257/660, 257/E23.114, 257/686|
|International Classification||H01L23/552, H01L23/48, H01L23/64|
|Cooperative Classification||H01L2924/00014, H01L2924/15311, H01L2924/01079, H01L23/645, H01F2017/008, H01L2924/3025, H01L2224/16225, H01L23/552|
|European Classification||H01L23/552, H01L23/64L|
|Jun 18, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SILICON LABORATORIES, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WEI, DERRICK C.;SHI, YING;SMITH, KEVIN G.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:014198/0310;SIGNING DATES FROM 20030604 TO 20030613
|Oct 27, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SILICON LABORATORIES, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ZHANG, LIGANG;REEL/FRAME:014635/0880
Effective date: 20031020
|Jan 28, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SILICON LABORATORIES, INC., TEXAS
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